Thousands of people are gathering in New York, Washington and
Pennsylvania to mark the 11th anniversary of the al-Qaida terrorist
attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people in the United States.
At the White House, U.S. President Barack Obama, his wife Michelle, and
other dignitaries bowed their heads in a moment of silence at 8:46 a.m.
EST (1246 UTC), the time on September 11, 2001 when the first of two
jetliners struck the World Trade Center in New York.
One World Trade Center, built on the Ground Zero site of the fallen
World Trade Center towers.
Later, they will lead a similar ceremony at the memorial at the
Pentagon, the headquarters of the U.S. military that was struck by a
third plane in the 2001 attacks.
Vice President Joe Biden will speak at a ceremony in Shanksville,
Pennsylvania where a fourth hijacked jetliner crashed after passengers
tried to take control of the plane, preventing it from possibly reaching
another target in Washington.
in past years, the families of those killed at the World Trade Center
will take part in a ritual reading of the victim's names at Ground Zero,
the site of the World Trade Center towers that crumbled after being
struck by the planes.
But in a departure from previous observances, no elected official will
take part in the Ground Zero ceremonies.
Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney took a break from
campaigning to mark the anniversary during a speech to the National
Guard Association convention in Reno, Nevada.
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Monday visited the memorial in
Shanksville dedicated to the passengers aboard United Flight 93. He says
the country must never forget the military personnel deployed to
Afghanistan in 2001 to battle Taliban forces who gave shelter to al
Qaida and its leader, Osama bin Laden.
concern is that too often, we do not express our concern and our
attention for those that are fighting and dying for this country. We're
continuing to lose good men and women in battle in Afghanistan," Panetta
stated. "They are putting their lives on the line every day. And, every
day, they are fighting to make sure that this country is protected. We
cannot forget that sacrifice."
In a related development, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced a
deal had been reached to resume construction of the September 11th
museum on the grounds of the World Trade Center. The project had ground
to a halt over a dispute between the foundation controlling the museum
and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the government agency
that owns the World Trade Center site.
Also on Monday, federal health officials announced they will add about
50 types of cancer to the list of diseases that will be covered under a
special fund established to provide health care to people who became
sick while working among the smoldering rubble of the World Trade